Passion and Privacy: An Interview With PinkPantheress

In previous interviews you’ve mentioned making K-pop fan edits and being active in online communities. Now that you’re the artist, do you find that this online background influences the decisions you make?

Yeah I think so. Being online… You know, like being streetwise, it’s almost like being internetwise. You become savvy with what you can say, what you can’t say, what’s a good look, what’s not a good look. I mean there’s no right or wrong, but I think if you want to have people perceive you a certain way then there are definitely things you can do online to kind of push people into the direction of this. For example, I wanted everyone early on to know that I’m not the type of person to let [out details] about me. I wanted to make clear that I’m a musician first and then everything else second. So you’re not going to see me out every day. It’s maintaining a private life as well as an online one and finding the balance between the two. 

Did growing up in Bath with less around than a bigger city influence how you’d approach the online world? 

I was born in Bath, but when I moved to South East England to live with my mum there was a lot to do. I think for me it was just—and this is going to sound really cringe—I really enjoyed the escape that was the online [world] and I really enjoyed having my own private obsession. No one really knew about me liking K-pop because I was embarrassed. I thought people were going to make fun of me so I didn’t tell anyone and I just had it at home in my laptop. It wasn’t necessarily because there wasn’t much to do, I had quite a lot of extra curricular stuff, [the internet] was just a really nice way to escape.

With its culmination of singles and teased snippets, to hell with it feels like an ode to the past year. You must get asked this a lot, but where did the name come from? 

Actually I think you’re the first person to ask. It’s like everything—I don’t think about names of things much, especially my stage name. I FaceTimed my friends asking them what I should call the mixtape and they said, “You should call it this: to hell with it.” It had a different title at that point, and I was like wait, I do really like the to hell with it part—we’re going to do that. And it worked quite nicely. People have come up with their own interpretations of it, and I like the hell part. The whole mixtape is quite dark, so I think hell as a buzzword fits nicely with the whole concept. I also like the fact it came from a personal space; it was literally just a phrase that my friend always said so it just felt right

In previous interviews you’ve talked about the mixtape as more of a hallmark. Where do you want to go from here?

I would like to do some dance stuff. Obviously drum & bass and jungle are dance, but I think there are so many branches when it comes to dance and electronic music and I would actually like to get more into house as opposed to D&B and jungle. I want to get more into house, R&B, and stuff like that. As I said before, everything has to be a progression as opposed to a giant leap, so I’d like to experiment around with more sounds as opposed to just abandoning everything I’ve done already. I think that with every body of work I want to propose something different, so you probably can expect to hear something a little bit different but not a giant leap.

“I wanted to make clear that I’m a musician first and then everything else second. So you’re not going to see me out every day. It’s maintaining a private life as well as an online one and finding the balance between the two.”

Do you feel more of a pressure to continue to make a similar type of music now that more eyes are on you?

This is going to sound like such a weird thing to say, but sometimes I question why people listen to my stuff because on the one hand there are a lot of people that love the D&B, love the jungle, love the sonics behind the beat, but then there’s also an equal amount of people that just like the way I write and sing. I think you can create equally as good a song and equally as good an impression on your listeners with another beat if you know how to maneuver your way around the beat. Well, I hope so anyway.

I obviously hope that people listen to me because of D&B, jungle. etc., but at the same time those beats—the singing on top of those beats—isn’t anything new. It’s about me creating a more distinctive writing style and melody style and singing style. So yeah, to answer your question, do I feel pressured? I do feel pressured to some extent, but I also have faith that I can get around that.

A lot of your music has been teased through TikTok snippets. Did you always know that certain songs would evolve, or was it based more off interactions?

Literally, it was just off the engagement. What I’d do essentially is when I’d post a snippet I’d only write that 15-second part I’d post online, so there was no part of me thinking I’m going to write a whole song. But if people want a whole song I’ll make one. I’m so lazy when it comes to writing, and I’m so lazy in general when it comes to music, that I really don’t like having to write more than I have to, which is actually why my songs are so short. I only ever want to write what I want to write. I never like feeling like there needs to be a section B and a hook and… I just like having the freedom to write exactly the length of what I want.

Every time I wrote a snippet, it would never be to throw away. It’s the same now. if I’m in a session, I really don’t ever go to a session intending to not create something that I’m going to put out, which sounds really crazy and almost a little bit toxic. [Laughs] It feels like I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself, but I try to be efficient. It sounds really bad, it’s never wasting time because you’re always learning, but I always try to make something worth putting out. And if I can’t put it out because it is terrible, then I’m like damn, this is a bad moment.

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